They say the neon lights are bright on Smith Street — but looking at them just gives locals the blues.
But not for long.
American Apparel, the hip and sexually charged retailer of monochrome cotton and Spandex goods, has agreed to install timers on the ultra-bright lights that burn all night at its location near Douglass Street in Cobble Hill.
Currently, the store keeps 30-odd fluorescent lights on all night, allowing midnight strollers a flashbulb-bright view of the store’s trendy goods.
It may be good marketing, but it’s bad community relations: neighbors say that the bright beams keep them up way past bedtime.
So as of next week, the lights will turn off one hour after the store’s closing, which is 8 pm during the week and 9 pm on weekends.
The news has Smith Street shoppers excited for the return of darkness.
“The store is like an open refrigerator in the middle of a dark hall. You can see all its contents even when no other lights are on,” said Kayla Soyer-Stein, who passes by the store on her way home.
“The difference is, a refrigerator’s lights only come on when you open the door.”
American Apparel is the only store on Smith Street that remains lit all night, offering a certain late-night ubiquity to the youthful mannequins. On purpose.
“You can’t ignore us,” said Max Sugiura, the local operations manager for the LA-based chain, which has carved out a niche with its sexy, barely legal-style ad campaigns. “The light is vibrant and it sends a message that we are vibrant.”
Of course, some will miss the light show.
One photographer who lives nearby compared the effect on the increasingly stroller-friendly neighborhood to that of a porno mag left in a high school locker room.
“Pornography is about leaving nothing unexposed,” said Seth Mitter. “It was all there, under bright fluorescent lights. In a way, it was a good contrast for the neighborhood.”
©2007 Community News Group
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